Red Kid Black Kid

“ Red Kid Black Kid ” is a three-part documentary project I produced for graduation. The first part of the project is a book titled “Twelve Moments”. The book employs a variety of artistic methods, including film narrative, graphic design and creative writing, to tell a story of my illegal birth under China’s One Child Policy. Together with my older sister, my parents travelled 4,200 km to find a safe place for my delivery.

Throughout my life, this journey has never been far from my thoughts. “Twelve Moments” gathered together fragments of the story, many focused on my relationship with my father, a relationship which also seemed to speak of the broader relationship between authoritarian state power and the individual. The second part of the project consisted of three documentary fragments, each based on a separate chapter of “Twelve Moments”. These fragments allowed me to further experiment with cinematic language, and tease out the possibilities of using graphic design as a method in film narrative. The third part is an archive collection piece titled “As an author, As a son”, which was produced for exhibition at Eye Film Museum and Das Theater in Amsterdam. It aimed to create and explore a historical but intimate Chinese family context for audiences.

The manner of connection with the outside world.
The project connects to the audience by drawing attention from my personal life to political issues. The story of my family’s journey speaks of universal struggles, and builds an emotional connection with audiences from all over the world. I feel that my telling of this story is a way of building relations between me, audiences and our political context. This is in large part because the project speaks of a contemporary crisis, not just in China but also in Europe: How authoritarian oppression effect people's’ lives. For the film, I interviewed my father about the One Child Policy and the Tiananmen Massacre to bring audiences’ attention from my personal suffering to collective suffering, and to highlight the ways that political oppression can forge a collective amnesia about historical disasters. I also wanted to speak of how China’s political power has aggressively embedded itself in Europe. For example, Cambridge University Press folded under the weight of pressure from Chinese government censorship, blocking the publication of 315 papers, on subjects including Tiamanmen. Although Cambridge University Press ultimately reversed their decision following academic protests, this example evidences the need to be alert that China’s authoritarianism is an active threat to Western freedom of expression and democracy.


Mieke Bernink, lector/hoofd masteropleiding Filmacademie: Louis' onderzoeksreis heeft een prachtig boek opgeleverd - 'Twelve Moments' - waarin hij twaalf momenten beschrijft uit de geschiedenis rond en na zijn geboorte. Louis' achtergrond als grafisch ontwerper is op elke pagina zichtbaar. En ook in de korte documentaire schetsen die hij heeft gemaakt - en die de basis vormen voor een lange documentaire waarvoor hij inmiddels een producent heeft gevonden - voegt die grafische achtergrond een extra dimensie toe aan het audiovisuele materiaal. Als nieuwkomer in het filmvak durft en doet hij dingen die geen traditioneelopgeleid filmmaker zou durven - en juist daarin schuilt de (potentiële) kracht van zijn werk. Daarnaast is er Louis' gevoel voor humor die ook de korte, en technisch misschien niet perfecte schetsen tot zo'n lust voor oog, oor en denken maken. Tijdens de Artistic Research Week in EYE en DAS Graduate School gaf hij zijn onderzoek vorm als installatie. Voor de Eindwerkprijs laat hij u de schetsen en het boek zien. Met Louis is de filmwereld een talent rijker dat zowel artistiek als maatschappelijk de grenzen kan verleggen. Vanwege die belofte beloonde de jury zijn eindexamen als 'with distinction'.

Marc Thelosen, seriousfilm: It is not only the moving and dramatic story of the 1 kid policy in China – of which we know little about in the West, we know it existed; but the harsh consequences for families are much less known to us – struck me, moreover your visual approach is very much to the point. I could see your background as a graphic designer, in a way that relates very well to the Dutch tradition of ‘clean design’; design that truly deals with bringing across information. It helps the visual style of the film, and the way you have delivered the related publication is a joy for the eyes. The fact that there is not so much physical historical material that relates directly to you and your family makes it hard for you to bring across the look and feel of your past. Your solution of meticulous scrutinisation of family images is very well chosen, and visually very elegant. And finally it is your unique sense of humor that give light accents to the ‘heavy subject’ you present to your future audiences, creating a fresh balance that makes the dramatic subject a joy to watch.

Een project van: